Most people do not drive at night with 12 seconds view ahead; they just hope they will reach their destination safely. In other words, they are over-driving their headlights. This means by the time their headlights illuminate an object on the road they will be unable to stop before hitting it. This makes it critical to use all the other information available.
Pay attention to other vehicles on the road, which can give you clues.
If you can see the rear lights of the vehicle in front, you can be sure that no large object is between the two of you.
The most important action that you can take at night is to slow immediately when you detect something on the road ahead. Do not wait until you can see the object clearly - by that time, it will probably be too late to stop. As soon as you see something on the road, use your brakes so that you are slowing down while identifying what it is. You will then have more time to stop or change your direction if the need arises.